03/22/2005, 00.00
SYRIA
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Damascus to ask Arab League for help against US and French pressures

by Jihad Issa

Damascus (AsiaNews) – Syria expects support from Arab League members against US and French pressures demanding its immediate and complete withdrawal from Lebanon.

"The Arab world will support us against pressures exerted by the United States and France," Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said this morning before the opening of the Arab League summit in Algeria.

In addition to Arab heads of state and government, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will be attending.

Moallem said he expects Arab countries to call on the US government to renew the dialogue with Syria and to provide his country with official assistance against US pressure and probable economic sanctions.

He added that neither Syria's troop pullout nor UN Resolution 1559 are on the agenda for the Arab summit because they are a bilateral matter that has been agreed on by the two countries.

Sources close to Kofi Annan told AsiaNews that the General Secretary is looking forward to meeting Syrian President Bachar el-Assad to discuss certain aspects of UN Resolution 1559.

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